Press Release

Release of the 2013 Israeli Democracy Index

IDF Institution Most Trusted By Israeli Jews, Supreme Court by Israeli Arabs

Israeli Jews Against Right to Refuse to Serve in Territories or Evacuate Settlements, Israeli Arabs in Favor

Tuesday, 6 October 2013, Israel Democracy Institute, 4 Pinsker St., Jerusalem - For the 11th year, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) is publishing its annual survey of public opinion on the state of Israeli democracy including trust in government institutions, social and political trends, views on a host of hot political topics, as well as an evaluation of Israel's standing in the democratic world as measured by a number of international indices.

This morning, Dr. Arye Carmon, President of IDI, and Prof. Tamar Hermann, Academic Director of IDI's Center for Surveys, submitted the 2013 Israeli Democracy Index to Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Commenting on the importance of the Index, President Peres stated, "IDI is like a doctor performing an annual checkup on his patient.... This is a report on the health of the nation and its democracy." Prof. Tamar Hermann remarked on the results of the report, "For most indicators, we don't see dramatic changes, rather we see the quiet, positive evolution of Israeli democracy."

Since 2003, the Index has served as a critical barometer of Israeli public opinion for Israeli politicians, government decision-makers, and newspapers of record around the world. Salient findings of the 2013 Index follow.

Public opinion on Israel and its character:

  • Israel's Overall Situation: 43% of Israeli Jews rate Israel's overall situation as so-so, 37% rate it as good, and 18% rate it as bad. Among Israeli Arabs, 39% rate it as bad, 31% as so-so, and 28% as good.
  • Belonging & Pride: 83% of Jewish Israelis are proud to be Israeli and 67% feel part of the state and its problems, while 40% of Arab Israelis feel such pride and 28% feel a sense of belonging to the state.
  • Jewish and/vs. Democratic: Within the Jewish public, 37% believe that the Jewish character and democratic character of Israel are equally important, 32% assign greater priority to the Jewish element, and 29% give greater weight to the democratic nature. At the same time, 75% of the Jewish public believes that the State of Israel can simultaneously be both a Jewish state and a democratic state, while 22% do not think so.

Public opinion on the government and its institutions:

  • Trust in Public Institutions: Trust in public institutions declined from 2012. A majority of Israeli Jews placed their trust in the Israel Defense Forces (91%), the President (79%), the Supreme Court (63%), the police (62%), the government (58%), the Knesset (55%), and the Prime Minister (52%); less than a majority placed their trust in the media (47%), the Chief Rabbinate (43%), and the political parties (37%). Israeli Arabs most trusted the Supreme Court (50%) and the media (48%), followed by the police (44%), the political parties (43%), the President (42%), the Knesset (39%), the IDF (35%), the government (33%), and the Prime Minister (31%).
  • Faith in the Knesset: 48% of Israelis feel that MKs are not working hard and not doing a good job, while 46% believe they are. 69% of Israelis feel that politicians are more concerned with their own interests than those of the public, while 25% disagree.
  • Politicians Today vs. Past: 44% of Israelis believe that politicians today are worse than politicians of the past, 31% believe they are the same, and 13% believe they are better.
  • Political Interest & Impact: 72% of Israeli Jews are interested in politics while 60% of Israeli Arabs are not. 61% of Israeli Jews and 62% of Israeli Arabs feel they have little or no ability to influence government decisions.

Public opinion on other issues of interest:

  • NGOs Cause Harm to Israel: 52% of Israeli Jews agree that human and civil rights organizations, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and B'Tselem, damage the state, while 36% disagree. 42% of Israeli Arabs agree that they cause harm, while 45% disagree.
  • Refusal of Orders: Majorities of the Jewish public oppose the right of IDF soldiers to refuse to serve in the West Bank on the grounds that they oppose the occupation (63%) and the right to disobey an order to evacuate a settlement (51%). A majority of the Arab public supports the right in both cases (60% and 56%, respectively).
  • Jewish Majority vs. Entire Land of Israel: 62% of Israeli Jews believe it is more important for the State of Israel to maintain a Jewish majority rather than maintain sovereignty on all of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, while 21% disagreed; 7% believe both are equally important.
  • Electoral Reform: 68% of Jewish respondents think it would be better to have a few large parties rather than many small ones, while 27% disagree. Among Arab respondents, 48% would prefer a few large parties, while 44% disagree.
  • Socio-Economic Gaps: 64% of Israelis believe that it is important to narrow socioeconomic gaps even if it means paying more taxes, while 30% disagree.

The full results of this extensive survey are available in English and Hebrew. An infographic is available for use by the media on the condition that it is used in full; a picture of Dr. Carmon presenting the Index to President Peres is also available. Past Israeli Democracy Indexes are available for 2003 through 2012.

This survey, conducted between April 8 and May 2, 2013, included 1,000 respondents. The maximum sampling error for a sample of this size is 3.2%.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Democracy Index Author Prof. Tamar Hermann, contact:
Yehoshua Oz
Director of International Communications